A Tiny Footnote to a Big Debate

Just to be clear: I am no fan of the Filioque—i.e. I believe that the insertion of the words “and from the Son” into the Latin version of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 325/ 381 was a mistake and that the insertion should be excised wherever it is found. The original of the Creed proclaimed the full divinity of the Holy Spirit against those who denied it. Though it stopped just short of…

Part Four: Not Like Religion – Clean and Unclean

In his final post of this series (the first three may be viewed here, here, and here) we will look at the category of clean versus unclean in the Christian Faith, and its difference from the use of that category in religion. The category of “clean versus unclean” is basic to religion. St. Paul refers to such a category as one of the stoicheia, the basic building blocks of religion (Galatians 4:3,…

Part Three: Not Like Religion – Christian Sacred Space

In previous posts in this series (accessed here and here) we looked at the difference between the Christian Faith and all the other religions, and suggested that the main difference lay in the fact that Christianity was not a religion, but rather the saving presence of Christ in the world, and through His Spirit, our participation in the powers of the age to come. We Christians share certain external similarities with the…

An Akathist for Matushka Olga

Sanctity is self-authenticating.  That is, Christians know and recognize real holiness when they see it.  We do not need to wait for Synods of Bishops to officially declare someone a saint in a canonical act of glorification before we can know that he (or she) was a saint.  Indeed, it is because of this prior recognition of sanctity on the part of the Christian community that the official pronouncements of episcopal synods…

Part Two: Not Like Religion – the Christian Calendar

In a previous post we looked at the difference between the Christian Faith and all the other religions, and suggested that the main difference lay in the fact that Christianity was not a religion, but rather the saving presence of Christ in the world, and through His Spirit, our participation in the powers of the age to come. The idea that Christianity is not a religion comes as a surprise to many,…

Part One: Not Like Religion – the Christian Clergy

According to Fr. Alexander Schmemann, Orthodox Christianity is not a religion. In his For the Life of the World, he wrote, “Christianity is in a profound sense the end of all religion…Nowhere in the New Testament is Christianity presented as a cult or as a religion. Religion is needed where there is a wall of separation between God and man. But Christ, who is both God and man, has broken down the…